Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin was not happy with the announcement Saturday that a bipartisan majority of the commission overturned his staff's decision rejecting a cable challenge to Verizon Communications’ marketing practices.
A spokesman for the chairman, who is on an Asian trip on official business--he is currently in Singapore-- pointed to the unusualness of the release by commissioner Robert McDowell Saturday morning announcing the decision after it had been voted but before it was officially released.
The vote was four to one to uphold the cable companies' complaint--Comcast and Brighthouse--with only Martin dissenting from that majority's decision.
"Given the unusual circumstance that the office of commissioner McDowell earlier this morning publicly released a statement on the commission's decision regarding the Bright House Networks complaint versus Verizon that was adopted, but not officially released by the commission June 20," spokesman Robert Kenny said, "we have informed all of the commissioners' offices that they should have the same notice and opportunity to explain their vote within the same time frame."
For his part, Martin didn't mince words in his 18-paragraph dissent from the decision. "I am concerned that today’s decision promotes regulatory arbitrage and is outcome-driven," he said. “It could thwart competition, harm rural America and frustrate regulatory parity. Therefore, I must dissent from today’s decision.”
Martin said it was "arbitrary," "capricious" and "indefensible" to say that cable companies are telecommunications carriers for the purposes of voice over Internet protocol, but not otherwise.